Hotel News updates for Carlson Hotels and Hilton HHonors

Travel News
How the New Age of Austerity Impacts Your Use of Hotels

You’ll probably make fewer, shorter and cheaper business trips this year and opt for basic efficiency and good service from the hotels you do stay in, according to a report by travel technology company Amadeus for the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Increased scrutiny of how business—any business, not just those using TARP
money—spends money means companies want to make business trips as productive as possible.

Gyms and restaurants count for little. Fast internet access is the most important  amenity;  efficient check-in is also key. The report predicts a “flight to trusted brands” and expectations of a certain level of good service no matter where you are in the world. (Source: Amadeus press release).

Hotels Make Loyalty Programs More Attractive
Hotel companies are enhancing their loyalty programs. Hilton HHonors has launched a new premium credit card, the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from America Express, and enhanced the existing Hilton HHonors Card. Both cards let you earn points fast and offer generous awards.

The new Surpass card awards 9 points for every eligible $1 spent at Hilton Family hotels; complimentary standard membership in Priority Pass, which gives card members access to more than 500 airport lounges worldwide; and the ability to earn Hilton HHonors’ Diamond VIP status with an annual spend of $40,000, Hilton HHonors Card enhancements include upping bonus points (6 up from 5) for spending in an expanded list of double point categories, and special perks such as discounted and upgraded chauffeured car service.

Carlson Hotels Worldwide is offering its guests “3 for 3” – an additional 3,000 bonus Gold Points for members of its goldpoints plus loyalty program who stay three nights at any global Carlson Hotels from now through April 30. (Source: Hilton, Carlson press releases).

PKF Forecasts Declining Room Rates

Drawing on data that it’s collected since 1937, PKF Hospitality Research says that the U.S. has experienced 11 economic recessions since 1937; they lasted anywhere from six to 16 months. Some of the results were obvious, but there were some surprises, too.

As expected, during nine of the 11 downturns, occupancies fell, but that did not automatically mean average daily rates (ADR) fell. In fact, in eight of 11 recessions, they increased. For example, in the 1973-75 and 1980-82 recession, caused mainly by inflation, rates increased and hotels still were able to make some minor profit gains.

This time around, however,

  1. PKF expects ADRs to fall. PKR forecasts that lodging demand will decline a cumulative 4.2 percent from 2007 through 2009
  2. That, coupled with a 5.6 percent increase in supply, will produce 9.1 percent decline in occupancy to 57.2 percent,
  3. The result: a 4.6 percent drop in ADR, continuing the discounting that began in the fourth quarter of 2008. Source: PKF press release

Hotel Information March 2008

Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton will implement a smoke-free policy at more than 300 properties in the U.S., the Caribbean and Canada.

Both brands expect to be completely smoke-free in the U.S. and Canada by Dec 31. The two Starwood brands have begun converting all smoking guest rooms to nonsmoking rooms in preparation for the new policy.

Major Hotel Chains´ Internet services

Best Western
Free Internet is a standard in the United States. The brand is working on making it a standard in Europe.

Carlson Hotels
Began phasing in free Internet service as an in-room amenity at Radisson Hotels & Resorts in 2005 and into Latin America this year. Some lobbies offer free WiFi.

Extended Stay, mid-price brands offer free Internet access. Individual upscale properties offer free access.

Upscale properties generally charge for Internet access. Midprice Hyatt Place offers free WiFi throughout hotels.

Holiday Inn offers free Internet access. Extended stay brand Staybridge Suites made WiFi a free amenity in both the lobby and in rooms this year. Upscale properties generally charge for in-room service, although some offer free lobby Internet.

Introduced free high-speed and WiFi to guest rooms three years ago at its midprice and extended stay brands and this summer announced that it is eliminating WiFi charges for guests in public areas. Upscale and luxury brands still charge for Internet Service.

Among the first upscale brands to make free WiFi a brand standard

Four Points by Sheraton offers free wired and wireless Internet access. Many W Hotels offer free WiFi access, but in-room Internet connections usually carry a charge.

Free Internet access for mid-priced brands. Select upscale properties give Wyndham ByRequest members access.